19 October 2023

Southland businesses optimistic new government will deliver

Over the last weekend, National Party’s Prime Minister elect Christopher Luxon said that the party will be tight-lipped about its negotiations in the coming weeks, with respect to the new coalition government.

Despite this, the Southland Chamber of Commerce thinks that there may be a win for businesses in the near future.

Chief executive officer Sheree Carey said that while National had been perceived to have more of a business focus than Labour, “the industry that we would be looking for support is aquaculture”.

She said that National’s local MP Penny Simmonds had already mentioned that she would be looking at legislation (supporting the industry), and that aquaculture was a huge economic opportunity for the region.

Southland businesses in the agricultural sector were “breathing a sigh of relief” following the exit of the Labour government, and are looking for better outcomes and support for farmers, given that the region was so dependent on the industry as well as its exports, Carey said.

Chamber president and Findex managing partner of South and head of agribusiness Neil McAra said that for Southland, “we’re looking forward to the government continuing to support new industry development – things like aquaculture and clean energy in our region are highly important”.

“So having the support and development of those industries and removing red tape to accelerate their development is important to Southland.”

In Southland, National MP Joseph Mooney is now in Wellington to begin his second term. Mooney had one of the largest majorities in the country on election night, with a margin of 14,973 over Labour’s Simon McCallum.

In the Invercargill electorate, Labour MP Dr Liz Craig was defeated by Simmonds. The final vote was 18,578 to Simmonds, 9689 to Craig, a difference of 8889, and 1689 to ACT’s Scott Donaldson.

While Carey said that it would be too early to speak about expectations of the business community depending on National’s coalition negotiations, “the other thing for us in businesses [is] that pathways into employment and having Penny say that she’d be looking at giving SIT back their autonomy”.

She said that having SIT train people for the jobs that are needed in the region would be great for Southland through her representation and advocating for Southland in Wellington.

McAra said that nationally and in Southland, the region stands to benefit from a business environment in which inflation was low, and red tape removed.

He also mentioned that “adding 90 day trial periods will give business a lot more confidence in employing staff into the future.”

Source: Stuff.co.nz – 18 October 2023

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